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DELAWARE INJURY LAWYERS

Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705

Raise Awareness During National Assisted Living Week

This year, September 13 to the 19th is National Assisted Living Week, an opportune time to raise awareness about the benefits of assisted living. This year’s theme gives special attention to caregivers and the essential services they provide.

What are the Benefits of Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a useful option for seniors who require some type of ongoing medical or personal care. Some benefits of assisted living include:

  • Personal care: Assisted living staff members help residents with daily personal care activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, shopping, doing laundry, and taking medication.
  • Emergency care: Around-the-clock emergency care ensures that each resident’s needs are met at all times.
  • Prepared meals: Nutritious meals created with senior health in mind help residents stay healthy and happy.
  • Reliable transportation: Assisted living communities provide safe and reliable transportation to residents who are unable to drive or own a vehicle.
  • Social and recreational activities: Seniors in assisted living communities are surrounded by others their own age as well as staff members in an environment that encourages participation in social events.

When is it Time to Consider Placing a Loved One in Assisted Living?

Many people feel guilty about putting their loved one in an assisted living community, but the truth is that sometimes it becomes necessary to do so. It may be time to consider assisted living if a loved one experiences any of the following:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Cognitive decline
  • Health problems
  • Financial issues
  • Poor hygiene
  • Car accidents
  • Inability to cook meals
  • Difficulty remembering to take medication

What Should I Look for When I Research Assisted Living Communities?

There are several things to consider when evaluating assisted living communities, including the services provided, the atmosphere, and the cost. If possible, take a virtual tour of the facility and speak with a representative who is knowledgeable about the facility and its features.

It is important to ensure that the assisted living community one chooses is right for their loved one. Some questions one may want to ask include:

  • Is the facility licensed?
  • What is the visitation policy?
  • Are staff members friendly and compassionate?
  • What are the costs of services?
  • Do residents seem comfortable and happy?
  • Does the building look clean?
  • How is administration of medication handled?
  • Is there a 24-hour emergency response system?
  • What is included in each unit?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is there a recreational or activities program?
  • How many meals are provided?
  • How will the medical team communicate with the family?

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Not all assisted living facilities are safe and nurturing environments. More than 500,000 adults over the age of 60 years old are abused or neglected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number does not reflect the extent of the problem; many cases of nursing home abuse are unnoticed or unreported.

Additionally, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that approximately 95 percent of nursing home residents have been neglected or witnessed neglect.

The CDC lists six types of elder mistreatment:

Physical abuse: This includes pushing, hitting, slapping, or improperly restraining an elderly person. When this happens, one may notice that their loved one has unexplained injuries, such as bruises or broken bones.

Sexual abuse: There have been reports of assisted living staff members taking advantage of residents who are unable to defend themselves. Injuries around the genitals or the development of sexually transmitted diseases may be signs of rape or other forms of sexual abuse.

Emotional abuse: This type of mistreatment may not be as apparent as physical abuse, as it leaves no visible marks. However, if a loved one has sudden changes in mood or personality or exhibits fearful behavior, they may be a victim of emotional abuse.

Neglect: Nursing home aids are supposed to take care of residents and ensure that they have sanitary living conditions. When they fail to provide the basic necessities, such as food, water, shelter, and self-care, it constitutes neglect. Another form of neglect is social or emotional neglect, wherein a resident is subject to constant unkind treatment or forced isolation.

Financial abuse: Some people exploit the elderly for financial gain. Evidence of this type of abuse often becomes apparent when there are unexplained missing assets or financial transactions.

Abandonment: This type of neglect occurs when someone who is charged with caring for an elderly person deserts them, leaving them to their own devices, whether in a public place or an assisted living facility.

Who is Legally Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

When elderly abuse or neglect is reported, it may trigger an investigation by an adult protective services agency, a criminal investigation, or a civil lawsuit. To recover monetary damages from an assisted living facility, a plaintiff must prove that the nursing home breached its duty to provide a specific standard of care to a resident, either by its own actions or its employees’ actions, and that the resident was injured as a result.

What Damages are Available in Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Cases?

Even though an employee may have committed the abuse or neglect, the assisted living facility itself may be held legally liable. Through a legal concept known as vicarious liability, the employer has authority over the actions of its employees and is legally responsible for the actions of those employees. Damages available in nursing home neglect and abuse cases include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Costs of home care

Punitive damages may also be imposed on the assisted living facility in egregious cases of abuse. Such damages are awarded to punish the defendant for its wrongful actions and deter against future behavior.

When is it Necessary to Hire a Lawyer?

If one suspects nursing home negligence or abuse, they should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They may be able to hold the assisted living facility liable for the wrongful acts of its employees. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate the case, collect evidence, and build the best nursing home neglect or abuse case possible.

Milford Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for the Rights of Residents in Assisted Living Facilities

Contact one of our Milford nursing home negligence lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for assistance with your elder abuse case. Our experienced and compassionate legal team help nursing home abuse victims get the compensation that they deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-422-6705. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Statement Regarding Coronavirus Disease ("Covid-19"):
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A Message to Our Clients: We Are Here to Help You.

The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus changes daily. During this uncertain time, we can assure you that the team at Rhoades & Morrow continues to focus on helping our current clients as well as assisting new clients.

We know that legal questions still arise, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the trusted guidance that you have come to expect from us over the years. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients, we are conducting virtual consultations via Zoom and by telephone. We also have the ability to exchange documents via secure e-mail.

We will continue to work to protect the rights of our clients. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online.

We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and healthy.